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>> today, firefighters went from door-to-door looking at those wreckage of those homes to see if they could find more victims. four people are confirmed dead and 50 people are hurt and eight of those in critical condition at a burn center. 38 homes were destroyed. another seven damaged. but the heartache that lives
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here right now is immeasurable. so much has happened. 75% of the homes have been looked at. 25% are still so hot that firefighters have not been able to access. so the question is, are there more people still trapped inside? and the search crews are using cadaver dogs to answer the question. these foundations that have burned have to cool off before the animals can be used in the search. but the good news is, jessica, no one around here has been reported missing. so, perhaps, there's some reason for optimism tonight. we want to give you some perspective of the disaster area. we're going to put up a little split screen here and there you have on the left side open your screen, that is a google level view of the crestmoore neighborhood before the explosion. look on the right side. isn't that extraordinary? that's a chopper image taken a couple of hours ago and it happened last night in a matter of seconds.
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people still incredulous around hey, as the describe the shaking that they felt. not once, but twice, according to many witnesses. and all of them thought they were in the midst of a very powerful earth wake. but as we know now, it was an enormous fire. >> now now that that shock of having the earth rumble beneath you has warn off the question that homeowners keep asking is, what exactly happened? could it have been prevented? many of them say that they did smell gas in the days before this explosion. so, what is pg&e doing? they have investigators on the scene and they've been talking to reporters all day. jodi hernandez went to find some answers. >> we're really saddened and sorry about this tragedy. and we're going to do everything we can to help the folks that have been affected by this. >> reporter: pg&e says they are determined to get to the bottom of what caused an entire san brew no neighborhood to erupt in
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flames destroying 38 hours, killing at least four people and injured dozens of others. >> we've yet to be able to get close enough to the actual source to be able to determine exactly why this happened. but we're working diligently to do that. >> there's a long piece of 30-inch pipe that erupted in the middle of a road and exploded and all the houses surrounding it are completely ashes and their cars are completely burned. >> the lieutenant governor toured the area. he says he'll make sure someone is held accountable. >> that's my job here today. to find out what happened and what are we going to do to prevent it from happening again. >> people who live in the neighborhood say she smelled gas in the days and weeks before the tragedy. this woman says it had been an ongoing problem. >> i remember smelling gas every so often. but it never stayed. it was, you know, you get a whiff and then it dissipates. >> what's really disturbing is
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this is mystery repeating this place. >> she says a similar event happened in rancho cordova in 1998. they believe it could have been prevented. >> it's shocking to realize that pg&e learned nothing first time someone was killed from a gas explosion and has allowed the situation to get worse. >> now our own jodi hernandez is at this very moment at the epicenter of where that explosion happened yesterday. she's getting a first-hand tour of the devastation. she's the only person that's ban loued in there so far. of course, she'll bring us a live story at 6:00. and a lot of officials here have gathered now to bring us up to date on the situation. here's a news conference which is just beginning. >> they had smelled gas fumes in the past few weeks and is that of interest to you?
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>> the question is are we wanting to talk to residents who reported that they smelled gas fumes? we'll definitely want to talk to anybody that has information that's potentially pertinent to this devent. >> would that be pertinent? >> that would be pertinent. if question was, do we know if pg&e as has been cited by any other agencies regarding this pipeline. that's one of the things we'll look into during the course of the investigation. one more question, please. >> at this point, it's too early to speculate as to what may have happened. the question was my taking in the scene, does it give me any clue as to what may have happened. there was a section of the pipe that was blown out of the hole and on to the street that reflects t s ths the enormity o explosion. this large piece of pipeline was blown the distance that it was out of the hole in the ground. that tells me the magnitude of the explosion that took place.
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the question is, is that you know usual? the answer is, in explosions, nothing is unusual. thank you very much. we'll have another -- we'll get information about when the next press meeting will occur. >> you were listening to an ntsb agent, the national transportation safety board is the one that will be heading the investigation. they have a department of hazardous material and pipeline safety. they're in charge of overseeing all safety procedures when it comes to those on land gas transmission lines. like pg&e. >> and there is that hole in the ground where the explosion occurred yesterday. isn't that something to look at? you can just tell the power of this explosion yesterday which rocked buildings for miled around here on their foundations. we understand that house speaker nancy pelosi and jackie sphere may be touring the area right now. we're also expecting maria shriver today as officials show
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up to offer their condolences and, certainly, their help. hundreds of people remain evacuated from this community. there is no way to tell and certainly, officials cannot tell them tonight exactly when they'll be able to go to their homes to inspect damage or just, frankly, to resume their lives. it is a source of frustration for people as i move around and talk to some people today. >> and even that's -- those are the lucky people that were able to make it out alive. numerous people are injured and facing difficult and long recoveries. back to the studio with lisa kim for more. >> jess, you talked about the number of injured serious burn victims. they were taken to st. francis hospital in san francisco. and that's where nbc bay area george is live. what's the latest update there? >> the four burp victims here at st. francis undergoing treatment for injuries considering life-threatening. these victims have inspired others to give blood and to give
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back. doctors here at st. francis memorial hospital in san francisco say the four burn victims will more than likely stay at the burn center for about two months. >> these patients will be here for a few weeks. again, the initial phase was last night. reus s reus is expectation resuscitation. and then the skin grafting and then long term will be reconstructive procedures so this could go on for a year or two. >> doctors will remove nonvital tissue for skin grafts. >> which will take a few days. the next and final phase will be putting -- taking the skin from one part of the body and putting it on the burned areas. >> the four victims have inspired many to donate blood. megan knicks is one of them. >> all the people that have been injured from it, it's right here in our bay area. it's in our backyard and if i can do something i want to do something. and i can't do much but i can do
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this. >> the blood centers at the pacific says it has seen nothing but long lines of people waiting to give blood. a typical day they see 40 donors come in. today, 125. >> it's quite emotional. it's a really amazing thing that people want to give so much. we just hope they come back and they continue to be life-long blood donors. >> reporter: we have some new information from san francisco general hospital about four patients there. they are treating four people, three of them are critical condition. one in serious, two have burned and the other two for breathing in too much smoke. live from st. francis memorial hospital, nbc bay area news. thank you, george. we understand those patients are mostly elderly patients. the victims who walked away from the huge explosion are telling remarkable stories. nbc talked with one man who wasn't sure if his house is still standing. >> i heard this, like, a jet fly
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over, right? like a plane. and i go, wow, that's -- someone is flying low. 15 minutes later, i hear this, like sonic boom, like someone just broke the sound barrier. the whole house shook. it was a straight wall of fire. no space, just a solid wall, oh, my god, 50, 60 feet up. the policemen said evacuate. i said, why? i got the car out of the garage and i popped the genie. it's not like someone came by and intentionally did this. it's one of those things, you know? i had, i guess, frustration because you want to know what's going on. all we get is what the news is telling us. people that live there need to know more. we're trying to picture where our house is. it's nighttime. i think it looks good.
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you can get another house and property is property, eventually you'll get it back. you can't replace a loved one and that's the bottom line. >> here it is, 24 hours later and the reality is just sinking in. another survivor we talked with woke up this morning like a lot of people, not knowing if his house had made it through the thiet. garvin thomas was with him as he discovered the truth. >> can you imagine being in his shoes right now? neither can he. you see, he's wearing his father's. phil didn't have time to put on his own shoes before runs. >> we ran out and we as you snez huge gigantic flames. we got in the car as fast as you can and we're driving out of here. >> reporter: now that the family is safe, phil's attention has turned back to the house. early this morning he was pleading with police to let him go just 100 feet past the police
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line where he believed he would be able to see if his house was still standing. they said "no." finally, though, a homeowner a few doors down let phil into his backyard and if all is well, he should be able to see his house across the canyon. and he can. it's the green one. with the burned-out buildings right behind it. >> oh, my gosh! i was so certain it was gone. >> reporter: still, a standing home doesn't mean an undamaged one. as relieved as phil is he won't be satisfied until he knows just how many days of work one horrible night has left him. in san bruno, garvin thomas, nbc bay area. and the coverage of the explosion continues right here on nbc bay area. >> we have a lot coming up, lisa. let's react briefly to what we just saw. >> you spoke to him last night? >> i did. he was an extraordinary man.
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when they look out and they see that their home as survived when so many others are destroyed you feel relief but sadness at the same time and it's so arbitrary. >> and hard to imagine that homes did survive. when you see the ruptured pipe, that 30 foot ruptured pipe at the center of this investigation. we'llback.as beigwe'l be right back. b-a-c-c-a-l-a-u-r-e-a-t-e.
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baccalaureate. correct.
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[ audience groans ] since this competition has been continuing for 48 hours and we have yet to eliminate anyone, it is the decision of this board to declare all 20 contestants winners. you have all competed admirably. admirably. a-d-m-i-r-a-b-l-y. admirably. [ male announcer ] at&t is making high speed internet affordable for only $14.95 a month with select services. at&t. rethink possible. welcome back to the countth continuing coverage of the san bruno explosion. >> i'm tom sinkovitz. we've been at san bruno this afternoon keeping abreast of a very fluid situation. we can tell you that this neighborhood is still cordoned off and it will be quite some time before they figure out when people can return to their homes. they did reduce the number of destroyed homes today when they did a second count. the sun came up and the fires
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were put out for the most part from 53 homes to 38 homes destroyed. that's still significant. seven homes have some major damage, we're told. and there are several dozen other homes that have some damage, you can imagine, the embers sparked some fires on the roofs and there may be water damage. but the casualty toll remains the same, four killed in this accident. the search continues tonight in some of the homes that have not been looked through tonight. >> as we see in every single tragedy, like after the oakland hills fire and after loma, when tragedy occurs people in the bay area step up to help each other. it is tragedy in the face of humanity. evacuation centers. people showing up in drove with people with things to offer. how can i be my neighbor's keeper. kimberly is an evacuation center. kimberly, it is amazing how people open up their hearts and they have so much compassion when they see the complete
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strangers need their help. >> reporter: that's exactly right, jessica. especially at a time when we're all counting our pennies people are literally showing up here, 20 cars in a life and you can't see it but there's a huge van parked to the right of me that just pulled up, a big penske rental van packed with stuff. car seats, stuffed animals, toiletries, baby items, things people really need. i'm at one of three of the centers on the peninsula that has been taking donations. let me tell you it's been nonstop. a very steady throw of people coming to really donate whatever they can afford. donations are pouring in to the veteran's memorial center in san bruno. hundreds if not thousands of people wanting to help those displaced by a fire that tore through part of the city yesterday evening. >> some people lost everything. bring what you can and come and help. >> people from all over the bay area are sorting, organizing and
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getting those affected by the fire the items they need the most. >> i brought what i was readed they needed the most. baby supplies, diapers formula, bath soap for the little ones i wanted to just come and bring it over and drop it off. >> a lot of companies, including safeway, are stepping up to help. >> until you're here i don't think you can appreciate it the volume of people who are displaced. so we have $100 gift certificates for groceries. anyone that wants to drop their change for this cause they can do so. >> i need some soda and some more water up there. >> at the red cross command center, closest to the fire, workers including the owner of a construction company plan to hand out water and snacks until the real work can begin. >> we're waiting to get up there so we can help the people board up their windows. >> a service they say they'll do for free. >> it's helping the people.
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it could be your family member or your friend or it could be you that goes through one of those situations. >> volunteers at the donation center say they are grateful for everything they've received but they say what they'll really need right now is cash. live in san bruno. kimberly terry, bay area news. >> i was going to make the point. it's not that anyone isn't grateful for the extraordinary show of support we've seen with clothing and food that people have brought in, but money is the key right now. >> it always is. >> let's toss it back to lisa in the studio for many more. >> people are heeding the call for help. we want to get in touch with jennifer about the weather conditions. yesterday, the wind and fog hampered the firefighters efforts and that fire now fully contained. clue us in on the weather conditions today. there's still debris swirling about? >> certainly. to worry about the wind. it's always breezyve and we hav sustained winds at 13 miles an hour out of the west.
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so with these hot spots, it's still going to be a problem here tonight and tomorrow. look at a picture of these charred cars taken this morning. as we look into the overnight hours temperatures in the 50s and low 60s. we'll see winds here 15 to 25 miles an hour at times. that will kobts continually be a concern with the hot spots out there. otherwise we are looking at low to mid 80s in the east and south bay. the trend this weekend will be warming. by 11:00 a.m. in the east bay, mid 70s. seven-day forecast is a very nice saturday coming our way and also, into sunday. >> all right. thanks a lot, jeff. people are giving with their hearts and their wallets to the victims of that san bruno guess explosion. we'll go live to a fundraising effort just in rid of the mansion and the limo budgets were balanced. $4 billion in tax cuts. world class schools and universities. clean energy promoted. 1.9 million new jobs created. california was working. i'm jerry brown. california needs major changes.
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we have to live within our means; we have to return power and decision making to the local level-closer to the people and no new taxes without voter approval. jerry brown the knowledge and know-how to get california working again. when you buy the hot new samsung fascinate with its super amoled screen. get a free samsung intensity, a free blackberry bold or any other phone in our lineup. don't miss out. offer ends soon. buy a samsung fascinate and any other phone is free. only at verizon.
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we're back with your continuing coverage. tom and jess, the call for help even more urgent. >> it is. we're here on top of the church of the highlands here in san bruno at the crestmoore neighborhood. the neighborhood devastated by the horrendous blast last night. it's right behind us. the grim task of figuring out what happened as search crews go home to home, looking to see if there's any for victims happening right now. right before us at this time. >> and we have established last night, all day today, how extraordinarily generous people are being and as we pointed out,
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what the red cross really needs right now to help these people the most, is cash. once again, the bay area is stepping forward. cheryl hurd is live at cappuccino high school where there's a fundraiser going on right now. cheryl? >> reporter: they definitely need cash, tom. but they also need a sense of community and that's what cappuccino high is providing for this community right now. they need to be together to talk about this horrible tragedy. it's just getting under way here at the high school, about 100 people are inside and they're really excited about what's about to take place here. they're pulling together and making spaghetti and making signs and folks feel at home. and that's exactly what they want to do here today. everyone is pulling together here. they don't want people to bring in clothing like you said, before. they just need the cash. how did this idea come about?
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>> the teachers here said they just have to do something so they decided, let's do a spaghetti feast. they pulled together here and they are not lacking for volunteers because the folks are here and happy to do it. and one teacher told me today that they're really not surprised by the turnout. >> i'm not surprised by the the response, no. cappuccino high school always has a big heart. so i'm not surprised. >> how many people do you expect to be here, no one knows, right? >> we have no ". a lot of information has been sent out. the kids have all texted people. hopefully, a lot. >> and this isn't costing them anything. grocery stores and all types of food outlets all over the bay area are pulling together and donating food. i talked to the principal of cappuccino high school and she says that the entire community here in this high school has been through an emotional roller coaster. they found out today or they
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thought that one of their students perished in the explosion and then to find out later on that that did not happen. so it started out crying and ended up laughing. and this is been the story here all day long. but they don't know how many people will arrive here today. but they say they have plenty of food to feed them. back to you. >> what a relief to find out. >> heart break, relief, you hear those stories all the time. >> let's go back to lisa kim in the studio. when we come back we'll have n ap ithe rap in the latest developments in the san bruno gas explosion. we'll be back in two minutes. ♪ i thought it was over here... ♪ [car horn honks]
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our outback always gets us there... ... sometimes it just takes us a little longer to get back. ♪
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you're looking live at the aftermath of that huge massive
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explosion. here's what we know so far. four people dead. at least 50 people hurt, eight in critical condition. nearly 40 homes destroyed. pg&e said they heard reports of people smelling gas before the explosion. more live coverage at 6:00 including live with tom and jess. [ male announcer ] jerry brown's good old days.
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but what really happened? cnn -- not me -- cnn says his assertion about his tax record was "just plain wrong." jerry brown went out there and took credit for the fact that the people of california voted for proposition 13, which lowered taxes, which he opposed. and now he's going around taking credit for it. he raised taxes as governor of california. he had a surplus when he took office and a deficit when he left. he doesn't tell the people the truth.

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NBC11 News The Bay Area at 5
NBC September 10, 2010 4:00pm-4:30pm PST

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